Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crying over spilt milk...


It's not too often that I get up on a mommy platform.  But my departure from Heathrow was nearly enough to turn me into a crusader for life.  And I wasn't going to say anything except for change doesn't come from letting things slide.

I think that there are lots of ways to feed your child, and while I happen to have an opinion on what works best for me and why, I totally get that different combinations work for different moms for different reasons.  And I think one of the luxuries of modern times is being able to choose the right way for you, and having people respect that within reasonable realms.

One of the other luxuries of modern times is being able to pump - in my case, first it was because feeding wasn't working any other way.  And now it's because I work.  Now, as well all know, liquids are a no-no for plane rides, apart from a sample shampoo and your toothpaste neatly packaged in a small ziploc.  But there has always been an exception for medications and baby food, including milk.  For those traveling in the US, the guidance from TSA has been:
Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Officers. may ask travelers to open these items to conduct additional screening and passengers should declare them for inspection at the checkpoint.

For the UK, it reads per the Heathrow Airport website:
Baby food or baby milk: Please carry only what you need for the flight. You may be asked to open the containers and taste the contents.
And you're going to be blown away by what happens next.  Wanting to be a good traveler, I approach security, "declaring" my milk stash and showing the officers.  I had it packaged in freezer bags of 150 mL, and all separated out in a cooler container.  Naturally a container full of breast milk caused a bit of a stir and lots of nastiness ensued, with two gentlemen officials refusing to let me pass.  Here's how it went down.

Tack #1: "You can't have liquids over 100 mL".  I explain this is baby milk and it doesn't apply - nonetheless, I offer to repackage it into quantities of 100 mL in additional bags and I'm told I'm not allowed.

Tack #2: "You're not allowed to travel with breast milk if you don't actually have a baby with you."  Also false - it doesn't specify that in any of the rules.  Also the whole point of me traveling with milk is that I've been away and I have to bring it back.  They don't understand what I'm saying.

Tack #3: "What is pumping? What do you mean when you say this is from pumping?" So I explain the basic principles of what "pumping" is.  Keep in mind that this is in full on public view of the airport.  Luckily once you're a mom, you cease to be squeamish about this stuff.  However, if you're an airport security male worker, you are squeamish.

Tack #4: "You're not allowed to travel with breast milk unless you have a note from the doctor explaining why your child can only drink breast milk." What? Now I definitely know they're making stuff up.  I ask to see the rules and am refused.  I ask how I can possibly know what rules they're applying.  They say I can look them up at home on the web (which I have and have posted above for your convenience).  I ask to speak to a manager.  Again denied.  They're full speed ahead on a power trip now.

Tack #5: "If you really cared that much about feeding your baby, then you would just go to the pharmacist and buy some formula".  WHAT???? Cue smoke coming out of my ears.  I ask if he just told me how I should feed my child and he says "Well I'm advising you because you don't seem to know your options.  You don't have to use that when you could just buy it so why would you travel with it?  This is not a necessity so you can't have it."

And with that, all the milk was taken away.  I didn't let them see me, but this was some spilt milk that I felt justified in crying over.

But on a brighter note, don't forget to cast your votes - and if you think this whole Heathrow is as crazy as I do, spread the word.  I'll keep everyone posted on how complaining through official channels goes!




Updated: September 14, 2011
Please note that there have been lots of updates as a result of this posting - to all of those that commented and sent in notes of support, thank you! And know that your efforts not only meant a lot to me, but helped to move the needle in terms of making a difference in the way that Heathrow Airport approaches the needs of moms and families.  We've still a ways to go, but the Airport has been serious about their apology and about their effort.  For the full series of posts on this topic, please see: 


Crying over Spilt Milk, update
Crying over Spilt Milk - The Response Part I
Crying over Spilt Milk - The Response Part II

A little less crying over spilt milk - Heathrow Steps Up...




top image via KidHaven.

151 comments:

  1. How irate I would be! They don't even know their own rules, and their assumptions are so off-base as to be embarrassing. This kind of thing makes me seethe -- I'd be telling the London press :-)

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  2. My heart goes out to you - not only frustrating that they were simply making rules up as they went, but MOST frustrating because they clearly have no knowledge of the massive benefits of breastfeeding - not to mention the precious time you spent pumping that milk for your babe...nothing is more fun than holding glorified suction cups to your breasts and realizing that you are not so different from a cow.

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  3. That is terrible. You poor thing. I would have totally cried. Also GRRRRR not cool.

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  4. I am so sorry for you, what a nightmare!
    Those employees treated you badly, but I wonder who in the Upper Floors is responsible for not allowing to send you to a manager, who could overrule such nincompoops and allow exemptions. Traveling by air has become such an unpleasant experience, to say the least.

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  5. My blood is absolutely BOILING for you right now. I once accidentally left my whole day's pumping session out on the counter overnight and ruined the whole batch, and I cried the ENTIRE way to work the next day. Obviously these people had NO idea what your rights were, and they stole your bodily fluids. That's lawsuit right there.

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  6. Ohhhhh I would be calling anyone and everyone I could possibly call and making all sorts of fuss about this. Unacceptable. I'm sorry this happened to you, Momma!

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  7. I am so sorry you had to go through this! I am left speechless and so annoyed! I applaud your ability to keep calm..I would be in jail for flipping out on the security guard for telling me if I really cared about my child I would go buy some formula....grrr!

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  8. That's terrible. It seems impossible that people could be so ignorant, but indeed they are.

    You are right that change doesn't happen by letting things like this slide. I hope you are able to turn this negative experience into something more positive for other moms in the future. You might be able to get the wheels of change turning by sharing your story and making a complaint with the airline, airport, and anyone else who will listen.

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  9. Protest! Please! I'll sign anything.

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  10. I'd be contacting every official in a higher office I could think of. They should issue a public apology & re-educate their security workers as to the REAL rules.

    Maybe you should have pulled out your pump & demonstrated!

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  11. I'm so sorry. If it were me, I would go straight to the head of security and they would be getting one heck of a nasty email.

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  12. "May I please have your full name (and if applicable) badge number?" ... "Thanks, I will be certain that your friendly behavior will be rewarded when I file my lawsuit" ...

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  13. I would also be contacting the London press! This outrageous. If nothing else, when they didn't know what you were talking about, they should have called for someone who did. That is insane. Some heads should roll for this one. I probably would have cried right in front of them...that would have really made them uncomfortable. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I traveled with a baby and her milk before, but never just the milk. I never had a problem. How dare he tell you "you don't seem to know your options"?! WTH?! I have to say, I've never read your blog before, and I don't know what you generally do, but this might be a platform moment. I hope next time is smoother.

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  14. I just threw up in my mouth after reading this. I am so sorry.

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  15. Can you sue?? I swear....they better have several armed guards threatening to shoot me before they try and do that to me!! That is total bull sh#!!! I am really beginning to despise all of the 'freedoms' we have in this country we live in. They take a little , then a little more, until we live in a communist nation......ridiculous!!

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  16. I don't expect airport security jobsworths to be au fais with the benefits and logistics of breastfeeding, but I *do* expect them to a) show you the rules from which they are misquoting (what they don't have internet handy somewhere there??)and b) get a more senior jobsworth who might actually be able to help you! Isn't it theft to confiscate an allowed substance?? I hope you're following it up in serious terms - perhaps send a sample to the CEO of the airport to reinforce your point? I am seething on your behalf!

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  17. What?!?!?! That's a newspaper article waiting to be written - definitely contact your local papers - that's awful!

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  18. yikes! I'm about to travel for 4 days, I am re-thinking the whole saving it and bringing it back for baby..... sounds like too much drama!

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  19. How awful! I feel for you so strongly. I cannot imagine how badly you were treated.

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  20. How horrible! I feel for you! It almost sounds like it would be a good idea to print out the airport rules before traveling to ensure protection against such behavior! The other sad thing, this isn't the first time I've heard of this happening. :(

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  21. Thank you everyone for your comments and support! It really means a lot to hear I'm not the only one that finds this so crazy. I'll keep everyone posted on how the responses come in.

    Hosanna, if you're thinking about traveling and pumping, here would be my advice were I to do it again. If you can, pack everything in 100mL increments, since that's the allotted amount (at least in Europe) - medela's (or other brand) freezer bags are good for this. then pack in a cooler bag for the trip. That seems to be the best shot at getting it across in Europe. Another solution would be to pack it in larger increments but to check the luggage (if the trip is short enough) - in that case I would pack in storage bottles but then pack in double zip-lock bags, and pack with travel ice packs if you can. None of this is ideal but making up lost supply is particularly tough. Good luck!

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  22. I am totally with you in your anger! TOTALLY.

    I'm also completely astounded at the ignorance of the officials you encountered during this whole ordeal: not only about breastfeeding and formula but also about the rules which they are supposed to enforce!

    Anxious to see where your (much-deserved) complaints take you!

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  23. I would most definitely be going to the press with this. The whole cliche of it being liquid gold is not far from the truth, and being made to throw it all out would be devastating to me (pumping that much is not easy!).

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  24. That is a total disgrace, I am so sorry you were treated like that! I am completely red in the face from anger reading that post!

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  25. :-O I'm speechless! How dare they! Knowing what goes into expressing and the importance of it if it's "your thing" I am just gobsmacked! Ignorance is no excuse.

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  26. OMG! I am so angry for you! What airport was this at? I think we need to write letters or something, we need to stand up for moms like you who care enough to pump for thier babies! This is ridiclous!

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  27. This is definitely ridiculous!! Just FYI, I always put the milk in a bottle. If the bottle is 6 oz. or less they never scan it and if it is 6 oz. or more they will test the PH (and even this depends on the airport). I have traveled with up to 3 bottles. I find this to be an easy way to transport without them bothering me about it... oh and I don't declare anything, I just drop it in the bin and send it through the scanner (I make them come to me if they need the container opened).

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  28. WOW, that is completely outrageous, totally ignorant and hopefully completely not in line with how the rest of the airport's personnel feel. I hope those two find themselves not only out of jobs, but forced to eat only what someone buys for them...and I hope its something repulsive.

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  29. I'd be seething too. Don't they know their own rules? So sorry!

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  30. No no no no no no NO. UNacceptable. I did read a case of this happening earlier in the year, though I believe it was domestic. I think from Breastfeeding in the News.

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  31. ARGHHHHHH!

    I hope you're taking this as far up the ladder as you can. Letters of complaint as high as you can go (copying every underling along the way). Public letters in the newspaper. A clarification of the actual policies and insistence that staff actually KNOW THEM.

    I feel very very lucky that this didn't happen to us when my husband flew with the baby (and without mama) when she was 13 months old. She was still nursing a ton at that point, so he took something like 50-60 ounces of milk with him for a three day trip. No one batted an eye there or back through any airport security. Was pretty amazed.

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  32. I am mortified by this story. Good on you for putting your baby first

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  33. That is INSANE! I can't imagine trying to explain breast pumping to a total stranger, then being lectured about how I don't need to feed my baby that way. I'd be in jail, because I would hit someone. Seriously, I have a history of hitting stupid people. Not recently, of course, but that kind of treatment might be enough to make me temporarily lose my religion. Wow.

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  34. That's RIDICULOUS!!!!! PLEASE, PLEASE take legal action. I'm generally not a fan of how litigious society has become but seriously? This is over the top.

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  35. That is awful. I hope this gets those officers some much needed training and that more people become informed about this. :(

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  36. This is OUTRAGEOUS. Mothers shouldn't be attacked like this!!!

    I can understand if they don't get "breastfeeding" or "pumped" milk. Some people are just not savvy. But for them to completely fabricate the rules is beyond the pale. And then not to call in a manager who SHOULD know the actual LAW is complete neglect as an airport official.

    I cannot BELIEVE they took your milk from you in the end. Breastmilk is classified as medicine. Imagine if they took your child's medication that you were traveling with!!!

    Furthermore, it's even more precious than medication, because breastmilk is irreplaceable. Not only can't you buy it or put a monetary value on it, but making up a lost supply of milk is physically and emotionally draining (and sometimes it's just not possible- I know I couldn't do it). Add to that the trauma of their unsubstantiated attack and it would make further pumping sessions to replace that milk extra stressful and anxiety-ridden.

    Good luck with filing complaints. I hope this gets some high visibility. I once cried over spilling (some of my first) three ounces pumped. You have all of our support behind you.

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  37. Oh HECK NO. I wouldn't have let them take the milk from me, no way. I'd have DEMANDED something more be done. Seriously, they might have to arrest me. My milk is LITERALLY a prized possession & I have definitely CRIED over spilled/wasted milk. :(

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  38. I am so angry for you! And I would cry too. I'm so so sorry!

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  39. Stories like this are why I always print out the specific guidelines that are posted within MY access regarding the exclusions for medicines and baby milks and car seat usage on planes. I thankfully have never had to pull it out once I open my mouth but I unfortunately have a loud mouth and I don't back down easily if I know I am in the right.

    I am so sorry this happened and I would have more than cried if they took it from me.

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  40. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I would have completely lost my shit!

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  41. I am so pissed for you. Some people really ought to just be locked away and have no contact with the outside world.
    I hope you dont mind that Ive forwarded the link for this post and a letter expressing my anger to the Sun Herald in the UK.
    x

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  42. This is so unfair! I wish they would educate their employees on the proper "rules" that they should be enforcing. It may be too much to ask that every person be educated on breastfeeding, especially if they don't have children (all though it would be nice if it were a required high school lesson!!) but I do NOT feel it is too much to ask that people do their jobs efficiently.

    It makes me sad to think of the possibility of a new mother somewhere having her breastfeeding connection damaged by the ignorance of people like this. Thank goodness YOU know enough to not let it deter you. I hope you put up a fight!!

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  43. I am irate on your behalf! I don't know how you managed to keep your cool! Bastages! GRRR!

    I hope you nail those jerks to the wall.

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  44. OMG!! I can't wait to see where the complaints go either. My heart is breaking and my mind is raging for you right now!!! That's RIDICULOUS!!!! All that milk! I pumped for my twins and it's such hard work to get 100 mls, let alone 150, let alone more than one bag of each!

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  45. I hope you got their names and I suggest that you contact the head of the airport security and then the customer service head. And then the papers and television channels. Telling someone how to feed their baby is one thing (unacceptable!) and then taking away said food is another (totally unacceptable!). Simply livid over here on the other side of the "pond". Thank you for sharing your story and I think there better be a sit-in at Heathrow stat! In my opinion, you deserve a formal apology, a flight voucher to a faraway location and the security staff deserve disciplinary actions and *lots* of education.

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  46. THAT is INSANE!!! Speechless!

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  47. I would have been so angry that I probably would have been arrested.

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  48. I am SO sorry - my jaw was on the floor after reading this. :(

    Just thought I would share on the advice of traveling again with breast milk - print the pages of their website that show the rules and carry them with you. It's not a guarantee, but it may help...

    Just awful that you had to go through this but I hope your story helps other moms...

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  49. It's not just Heathrow, either. The TSA seems to have some sort of problem with breastfeeding/pumping moms: http://www.nurturedmoms.com/tsa-harasses-breastfeeding-mom/

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  50. That is beyond infuriating. What truly ignorant statements! I'm so sorry. I hope something comes of your reporting it.

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  51. If I were in your shoes, I would totally be arrested. I cannot believe that happened to you. Good luck with the complaint!

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  52. This is an abomination! How dare they question a Mother as to whats best for Her child! Im with you all the way!

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  53. That makes me sick for you. I'm so sorry.

    One additional thing I'd add for the mom who is planning to try to fly with expressed BM soon is to actually print the guidelines from the TSA & airport website to show to any nincompoop who tries to tell you that you're breaking a rule. Good luck!

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  54. Wow! I am just stunned beyond belief (then again). Thanks for sharing the story, but I am so sorry this happened to you...breast milk is nothing short of liquid gold and could never be replaced by formula!

    BTW, I found you via Becoming Crunchy on FB, but I am also an FS (blogger) spouse (husband is with DS) currently state-side. Hope you don't mind if I add you to my list of FS links, as I love the blog. I have several FS friends moving to Vienna this summer and I'm just terribly jealous! Can't wait to go out again...
    ~Jen @
    http://www.dinoiafamily.typepad.com/

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  55. One other possibility I can think of: frozen stuff gets through security. I've done it with foods that I planned to eat later like applesauce, which they'd take if soft, but let pass if frozen. So if you could freeze your milk while there, and then keep it frozen while traveling, that might be an option.

    This is the pits by the way, to say the least.

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  56. I am utterly shocked by the lack of basic understanding about their regulations and about breastfeeding. As far as I'm aware noone ever blew up a plane with breastmilk! They're nothing but egotistical, power crazy, ignorant twats! You should contact the papers, and make a complaint to BAA. I'm beyond sorry you had to go through that.

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  57. Oh my goodness I was just about in tears reading that! That is just...OMG...wow. As a mom who spent countless hours over the years pumping and struggling with low supply, I am just totally heartbroken for you that it all got tossed out. I won't even get started on #5 because that is so over the top that I can't believe he even said it. >:O

    ((hugs)) Mama! You know we are all out here for you if you need us. ♥

    ~Laila :o)

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  58. This is outrageous!!! A friend just posted this link on FB and I have never read your blog before but I just wanted to say how much outrage I feel on your behalf!!!

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  59. My husband and I both have just one word for you sweetheart - LAWYER! They had absolutely no right to do that! We would sue not only the airport and subsequent airline involved, but we would also independently charge the security agents directly involved as well. Both of us are so outraged by this! You'll have to blog about what results from your complains. God luck, hun! =D <3

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  60. The ignorance of those officials is truly astonishing. You are a wonderful mother for working so hard via pumping, packaging and transporting your milk for your child's wellbeing.

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  61. That is unbelievable!!! Did you get any names and badge numbers and supervisors' names?

    Also, I would suggest making a video telling your story. That would go viral in nothing flat.

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  62. OMFG! I do hope that you have written a strongly worded letter to the airport, the airlines, whatever human rights organisation will jump on this with you and definately include the media (news, current affair)-they will LOVE your story-it's a human rights issue, after all! This is patriarcial misogyny that must be reoported and stopped! You poor woman, who has so lovingly pumped for her baby only to be confronted by ignorami. Please report back to let us know of your sucess xo

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  63. That is terrible! I would have totally freaked out if that were me. You should have demanded to see the manager. I kinda pity these people (and their children) for their ignorance.

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  64. I am so happy this did not happen to me. I would have likely ended up in jail because I would have likely cried and became violent. Nothing breaks my heart more than pumped milk going to waste. It's like liquid gold! I wouldn't have reacted well to them taking it away. Good for you for not over reacting, and having a mature cry. I would have for sure caused a scene. I still can't believe this even happened. I hope you got the names of the idiots who did this to you!

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  65. Oh wow! How infuriating! There are just so many issues with that whole situation. I think what infuriates me the most is the telling you, "if you knew what was best you'd just go buy it!". You have chosen to give your child breastmilk and no one should try to dissuade you. Whatever form of nourishment you choose for your child is not up for discussion from anyone else (except maybe the baby's doctor). What if you had the same amount of formula in the pre-made canisters? Would they have made you throw it out? Probably not because they wouldn't have been grossed out by it (which I think is ultimately the problem here). I'm sorry, but God made breasts to produce milk to provide nourishment for your baby. There is nothing more natural! There is nothing gross about that! I'm so sorry you had to waste that precious stuff because of someone's ignorance and unfounded disgust.

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  66. I cry over losing a few oz. I can't imagine what losing all that milk would have done to me. Advising you to feed your child something other than breast milk is child endangerment. If I knew there was no way I was taking that milk with me, I would have spilled as much as possible over them and there space.

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  67. Kudos to you for not letting them see you cry! I would have burst out sobbing by then! :O And probably run after the milk, too!

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  68. Wowzers...you will be seeing a Lawyer over this?

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  69. This is unacceptable and wrong on so many levels!
    I cannot believe they'd dare insulting you, a mother, by telling you how to feed your child, questioning your choices, taking your milk from you and your baby! Not to mention all the distress they caused by dealing with you in that manner, lost time, energy and the ever so precious liquids, as you will have to try and replace all that somehow!
    I am outraged!
    I really hope you find the strength in you to take legal action, you have a real case.

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  70. I would be tempted to ask a solicitor about a case under the 2010 Equality Act (depending on the age of your baby, potentially the sex discrimination act if your baby was over 26 weeks). Given their comments they have absolutely discriminated against you on the grounds that you are breast feeding and are personally responsible for their actions and BAA (or whatever their employer is) could also be liable if they cannot prove that they have educated their employees about the rights of BFing women.

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  71. To be fair the security guards were actually using their own rules, Heathrow asks you to only carry what is needed for the flight, if you weren't travelling with baby then technically none was needed for the flight so they were within their rights to take it off you. Even if you had printed out the guidelines they would have only pointed out that they were following them!

    This is not to say that I think it is right, and they way you were treated about it is awful.

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  72. You definitely need to complain with BAA. I just complained to them recently about a rude security person who got upset with me for not moving along quickly enough (had a toddler in one arm and pushchair in the other, excuuuuuse me.) They responded within a couple of hours and I'm sure they would have been receptive to further discussions. I'm so sorry that you went through something this horrendous, ridiculous experience. There is absolutely no excuse for this and the least they can do is apologise.

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  73. I've just submitted this story to the BBC. I'm so sorry you had to go through this, and I really hope you get some media coverage and compensation.

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  74. send them a message here:
    http://www.heathrowairport.com/portal/page/Heathrow%5EGeneral%5EMisc%5EContact+us/68c86d720f247210VgnVCM10000036821c0a____/448c6a4c7f1b0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____/

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  75. That is so awful. Would love to know the follow up to any complaint you make although of course all that lovely milk would still be wasted :o(

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  76. Well done for not hitting him and getting yourself arrested. I hope you got his name.

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  77. Could you (with hindsight) have packed it in hold luggage?

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  78. Oh my goodness! I feel for you. I'd like to meet those idiots... and slap them.

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  79. I feel incensed on your behalf. What a shame/shock in this day and age that Airports....especially Heathrow!! can't have clear guidelines on breastmilk. I have fed both my children and empathise that certain circumstances are difficult enough with others making it more so! Did you officially complain? I agree with you that we shouldn't stay quiet about incidents such as these. You have lots of support (see above) Please keep us up to date. So sorry you had such an experience.

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  80. This must have been so infuriating, especially since you planned ahead and did your homework. I hope your story can bring about change so other women don't have to endure this.

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  81. So sorry!! That is terrible! My stomach hurt as I read on!

    Our son was in the NICU & I was pumping. I lost our frozen supply when our stand alone freezer died. I was crushed! Pumping is a hard job & stressful situations don't help! I hope you hear back.

    I'm also a diplomat's wife. My husband is in the FS & we're posted in Hong Kong. Glad to find your blog & look forward to reading about your adventures!

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  82. holy cow, I cannot believe they took it!!

    We learned in advance of a recent trip that had us traveling with a piece of medical equipment (that they could have required we put with checked luggage, that costs about $3000 to replace) that the key words to use in American airports is Complaint Resolution Officer. Apparently, it's like demanding Parlay on a pirate ship, lol. They HAVE to let you speak with a Complaint Resolution Officer if you request it, and generally, they don't like to have to summon one. Over and over online, I read about people who got to the point where they asked for a CRO and suddenly, everything was smoothed over.

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  83. Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. I think you handled yourself amazing well. I would have totally flipped out when they proceeded to take the milk away. For me, pumping that much milk would have been such a huge investment of time, I couldn't have handled seeing it leave. I'm crying over it, and I don't even know you or your little one. Many hugs. Hang in there. You're doing the right thing.

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  84. There is a yahoo group for pumping moms (from all around the world) which you could join at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/PumpMoms/. They might be a good support to you or resource in proceeding. I'm sure many there would be interested in hearing your story. Sincerely, Adrienne

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  85. That makes me so mad! They do not know their own rules and it's such a power play! I would be calling every paper and Tv station I can. Karen

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  86. I am appalled, outraged, and sickened by this and and the TSA in general. It is secruity theater that does little to keep us safe, but much to harass, belittle, and control our own US citizens. This kind of treatment and out of control power tripping needs to STOP! I encourage anyone who faces harassment at security to report it and share it! We need accountability!!!!

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  87. my mouth is literally open with shock reading this!

    "Well I'm advising you because you don't seem to know your options. You don't have to use that when you could just buy it so why would you travel with it?"

    what ignorance! i'm stunned...

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  88. Too unreal!! I'm in shock, my mouth is still on the floor.

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  89. Shocking, I really didn't realise staff were that ignorant. As a pumping mum, I know how much each of those bags mean and would have been extremely upset, not only in the way you were spoken to, but also how the milk was taken away.

    Maybe we need some kind of airport awareness exercise...!

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  90. Holy cow on a hot tin roof! The sad thing is, NOTHING they do to try to "rectify" the situation can bring back that milk. No amount of money can replace it. Nothing they do can make up for it. I traveled with an infant five years ago with TWO coolers full of milk her birth mom pumped for her and no one batted an eye!!

    This is just ridiculous!!

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  91. God damn idiots...that's all I can manage to say through my angrily gritted teeth! >:(

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  92. Shameful behaviour, I hope you pursue a complaint. I have made a complaint too via their website:

    http://www.heathrowairport.com/portal/page/Heathrow%5EGeneral%5EMisc%5EContact+us%5EFeedback/ Airport feedback

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  93. I was bringing liquid organic baby food with me for an infant, but since the baby wasn't flying with me, Heathrow security didn't let me take it.

    Jerks.

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  94. Insanity!!! You should sent this to the networks!!! I agree with the comment comparing breast milk to "liquid gold". These people need to be FIRED!!!! FIRED FIRED!!! Please tell me you know their names :-(

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  95. That's worth going to jail over. They would have had to pry it from my hands. Of course, then again, then you wouldn't be able to see your baby for even longer.

    Did you file a complaint?

    This needs more attention than just this blog. These people need to be fired. That much is very clear.

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  96. Oh no they did not! They have no right to take your breastmilk, or even refuse you to have it with you. I hope you do not give up on this and that you do go to the higher ups to make them aware....good luck...and I hope to be hearing updates. Have you contacted any breastfeeding support organizations? I know some....if you want to you can email me me and I can give you their info. Mummiesnummies@gmail.com
    Jacky

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  97. This is literally crushing to read. I hope I read a positive update from you, something like you have started a lawsuit, the local papers have run your story, and you have been issued a formal apology. I'm sorry this happened to you, but I hope that by you taking a stand against this treatment, another breast feeding mother has to go through this. It is absolutely disgraceful.

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  98. In a world where being a breastfeeding working Mom is SO HARD in and of itself, I'm so sorry to hear that you went through that. I can't rationally think what I would've done had I been in your shoes.

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  99. Ugh! I was nervous over the holiday weekend I flew to visit family and had a stash of breast milk with me. Luckily I didn't have any problems - maybe because the security was mostly women! I certainly would have cried over any amount of lost milk!

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  100. This is the second story I've heard like this. Outrageous! These idiots really need to be educated about this. The worst part is that it's not about safety, it's about power, as you mentioned. I do hope you are pressing charges!!! Grrrrrr!

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  101. I'd have ended up going to jail.

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  102. You'd think they could have at least had access to a computer and done an internet search on the rules for themselves - while you were waiting. Maybe they could add that to their policy for the future when they encounter a situation that they don't know how to deal with!

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  103. Scream and shout. call the air port authorities and threaten a lawsuit if you have to. this sort of shit HAS to stop!!!

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  104. i retweeted this, it's just ridiculous what they did to you!

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  105. That is shocking! I am so sorry you were treated so badly when you visited my country. I am appalled!

    In the UK nursing mothers are protected by the law - you can sue in UK law under the Sexual Discrimination Act. If your baby is under 6 months old you are also protected by Maternity Law.

    This guy was just a lone idiot who was ignorant of the law. Please don't think that all nursing mothers are treated badly here, there is a minority of offensive people, but I personally have only ever been complimented when breastfeeding in public and I know that if I had chosen to return to work my company would have been very accommodating in finding me somewhere private to express.

    I am truly sorry for your bad experience and I hope that you get some recognition from Heathrow airport of the terrible injustice that you were victim to.

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  106. This is horrifying. I would probably be the momma in custody because of the scene I would make. I truly hope justice comes and the men who did this get a thorough education on not the benefits, but the necessity of breastmilk for the health of your child.

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  107. Thank you for standing up to them!

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  108. Oh my God, the cross so far over the line, they are in the next country. That was no where near ok. I am so sorry you went through that, if there is anything I can do (like write someone) please contact me.

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  109. That is despicable. The anger I'm feeling is nothing compared to yours. Idiots. Not the point, but I hope one day they learn how hard pumping is. A mom who pumps for her child is doing a fantastic thing.

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  110. Totally shocking.

    Was there any reason though why it wasn't in your hold luggage though? I've had issues even with travelling with my baby along the lines of:
    them - "you need to taste the baby food"
    me - "me but we are travelling to the USA and once I open the pouches they have to be eaten within an hour, if i open them what will he eat in 4 hours time"
    them - not our problem, buy more (from the very limited selection) in boots.

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  111. That is despicable!! The anger I'm feeling is nothing compared to yours. Idiots. Not the point, but I hope they learn one day how much work pumping is. Moms who pump are doing a fantastic thing for their children.

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  112. I am shocked! There is NO WAY I would have thrown away milk that I worked so hard to pump and store! I would have thrown a fit! Good for you for behaving so well. I do hope that you got names and that those guards are fired. I don't care WHO you are, you can NOT speak to a woman like that or tell her how to best care for her child! I really hope that you are able to take legal action and press this as hard as you can. They should NOT get away with this. PLEASE update and let us know how this plays out. And THANK YOU from all the moms out here for sticking up for us!

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  113. I'm not going to tell you how many of my buttons this pushed, just that the smoke is still coming out of my ears and it wasn't even my life or anything.
    Also, I lived in Vienna for a year ('89-'90, as it turned out) so I have some other thoughts about the airport and city you were heading to. Just thinking about your milk getting tossed hurts.

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  114. I am so sorry this happened to you. I practically cry when I spill a bottle of pumped milk, but to lose that much would send me over the edge.

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  115. Agreeing with the lawsuit, the complain to everyone, the go to the press, and the start a protest (I'd ship bm to them from the US to protest if it would help) posts. This ridiculous, non-helpful airport security meets violation of breastfeeding mom's rights has my blood boiling. I hope baby didn't have to have formula because of your lost supply :( SO SO SORRY! Airport security is OUT OF HAND! Breastfeeding is an equal rights (for mom)/human rights (for baby) issue and it is about time these rights were mainstreamed/normalized!

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  116. I felt myself getting angrier & angrier reading this! Outrageous. I hope that your complaints change policy for pumping moms in the future!

    ... Needless to say, I fear I'd have been escorted out of the airport (& not onto a plane) if this happened to me... Good for you for taking the higher road & not allowing them the pleasure of continuing the exchange.

    I'm so sorry you experienced this!

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  117. Not read all the other comments so excuse me if I repeat but...this may be an infringement of your baby's human rights. Ya know, if you wanted to get heavy..

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  118. That's horrible. I am SO sorry. I would've been dragged kicking and screaming (and definitely crying!) away from my milk.

    I hope they do everything in their power to set this right and educate their employees. Not that they can ever replace your milk...

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  119. As a pumping, working, traveling mother, I am appalled and crying for you. Thankfully, my travels here in the US have been great. No one has ever even batted an eye as I declared my milk. Usually they have a female security agent come over and test the milk with one of three different devises, but there has been a man. And I have NEVER traveled with my daughter when doing this. I wouldn't need to carry 70+ ounces of milk with me in a cooler packed with ice if I had said child with me, now would I?

    I can only imagine the put in your stomach as you watched all that milk go away. It takes hours to pump all that and for them to be so pig headed and ignorant as to think your efforts are not civilized or "modern" is saddening.

    I hope they give you a free flight... and let you take your milk with you!

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  120. this is actually a violation of the Law. And a Crime as you can claim damage. There was intent, damage, and a breach of your peace. That is called a CRIME. Willful blindness and ignorance of the Law are no excuse for breaking it and it applies to Peace Officers, TSA, and everyone. Equality before the Law is paramount and Mandatory.

    These ignorant fools were probably fed baby formula full of MSG as infants and that is why they act like robots. The nerve of these douche bags saying you cant bring more than 100ml of milk on a plane. I guess that means all lactating women need to empty their breasts into a sink or something before boarding a plane. And I'm concerned about the body x-ray machines' effect on breast milk as well not to mention all human cells.

    My advise is to file a criminal complaint against the offending officials and make sure it's delivered to the Grand Jury. The men and women of the United States and all the Common Law countries need to start making DEMANDS!! forget protesting and petitioning. Start DEMANDING. You are all constituents of the Sovereignty!!! Start acting like it!! Blessings and Light.

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  121. Please tell me you're not letting this drop! I'd take it ALL THE WAY to the courts. Outrageous!

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  122. @The New Diplomat's Wife every single comment left here can be used in an affidavit attached to your complaint. These are your peers, many of them mothers who breastfeed or know about it. You women collectively have the power to effect change. Independently you have a lesser chance. Remember that complaining is like slinging mud. Sling as much mud at the wall as you can.....something is gonna stick. Write down how all of this made you feel and every interval in time during this engagement. You felt violated. Infuriated!!! You felt like you were treated like a peon! They treated you as such. Express on paper every emotion that this event has stirred up in you. Use it as a tool. use your (s)word like a weapon!!! Because that is precisely what they have been doing to Us for a long time.....much love hope this helps and or lights a fire in you.

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  123. Disgusting behaviour from Heathrow airport.

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  124. Good grief! That's disgusting behaviour.

    Please be assured that not all us men are that ignorant and stupid.

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  125. Absolutely disgraceful! I'm appalled by both their ignorance and their attitude. I think it would be well worth informing your MP about this flagrant demonstration of how the rights of law-abiding folk have been flouted over disproportionate fear of religious fanatics... :-(

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  126. It may not be a mom-friendly policy but the UK policy you posted states "please carry only what you need for the flight" Since you didn't have a baby to drink the milk, it seems reasonable to assume that you were carrying more than was needed. They should change the policy but for now, they may have been right on the law. Their comments about baby formula were obviously stupid.

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  127. I really hope you are going to take them to the cleaners on this one! I am actually fuming. I can feel all the muscles tensing up in my back and shoulders (good old breastfeeding strains and sprains). Disgusting. I'm in shock!

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  128. This is OUTRAGEOUS!! I sincerely hope that you got their information and reported them. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that. I would have cried too. :( Kudos for sticking with the nursing & pumping thing, though. Good for you!

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  129. Oh, my gosh! That is unbelievable! This infuriated me and my husband (who usually doesn't have much of an opinion about breastfeeding). Those people are complete idiots. Knowing how time consuming pumping is, I would have cried too.

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  130. yup- I would've been arrested as well. Can we send money somewhere to help you take this to court? or at least FoxNews!

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  131. Thank you for sharing this. I hope that your experience affects a change in education for airport staff. What deplorable behaviour! I feel so angry and upset on your behalf!

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  132. Just like to repost what I put on the NNIP page on Facebook:

    Did you happen to get the names of the staff in question? I'm flying out of LHR in a few weeks so if I happen to bump into them I'll be sure to give them a piece of my mind.

    On a more constructive note, don't let it pass, do everything by the book but make sure a FULL official apology is received and that they PROMISE to educate staff on their own rules.

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  133. this is awful...I pumped for my boy because I couldn't feed him...that milk has such a huge value...to speak to you like and to take it away from you is horrific.

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  134. There was a programme on TV about breastfeeding recently and the presenter was talking to a nurse in a neonatal unit who said that they feed premature babies with breastmilk because they can't digest formula milk and if they run out of donated milk they have to buy it and it costs thousands of pounds.

    If this had happened to me I would find out the commercial value of the milk they confiscated and take legal action to recover the value of the milk.

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  135. Good grief, I actually got a reply from Heathrow following my complaint about their treatment of this thenewdiplomatswife:

    Dear ****

    Thank you for your email. We were very sorry to learn about this poor experience.

    We know travelling with children can be stressful and apologise that our staff were unhelpful. The Department for Transport in the UK requires all liquids, gels and pastes to be a maximum size of 100mls and in a clear 20cm x 20cm plastic bag. As this piece points out, exceptions to this rule can be made for baby food or milk required during our passenger's flight.

    While we are required to follow the Department for Transport rules, we do expect our passengers to be treated with care and respect.

    Please be assured that we have been in touch with The New Diplomat’s Wife directly to ask for more information so we can feed this back to our terminal teams. We will do all we can to ensure this staff member is identified and carry out any further training they require.

    We will also use their feedback as a prompt to remind all staff of the customer service we expect to provide our passengers while maintaining security.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

    Yours sincerely,

    Logan Mudge

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  136. Did you catch the name of that security officer? I would be interested to know if he'd still have a job if everyone who read this wrote to Heathrow Security management about this. He had no right and was WAY off base, and making up the rules as he went along.

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  137. If i knew I was going to lose all that hard-won milk anyway, I'd have poured it on his shoes!

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  138. I have a little girl who, as an infant, could have nothing but breastmilk because of a serious medical condition. Even a few milligrams of anything else caused her to vomit for two to three hours straight. Vomiting, in turn, made her medical condition worse. Trust me, we tried ALL the formulas and nothing worked. It was an extremely stressful time because I knew she relied SOLELY on me.

    Cue the complication. I had a very difficult time producing enough milk. It took a combo of pumping, a prescribed medication, and a heck of a lot of time for me to get what she needed. If I had been in your shoes, there would have been NO WAY for me to pitch it without putting my baby's life in danger. I would have needed to miss my plane to ship it. But I feel strongly that shouldn't be necessary.

    I know my case is an extreme, but it makes me sick to hear about your travel troubles.

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  139. The law says you are only allowed to take enough for the journey, that law sucks and should be changed but the airline was following the law.

    This could have been avoided by reading the law and putting the milk in checked luggage, or shipping it.

    I understand that it's preferable to keep milk in your carry-on because it's not going to get lost if your luggage gets lost. But it seems to me the UK law is also clear: carry only what you need for the flight. And without a baby you don't need any breastmilk (I'm aware there are situations where adults need breast milk but this isn't one of them). If the law is "only" what you need for the flight then the airlines should follow the law; and if you don't like the law then fight the law -not the airline.

    And until the law is changed there are two options:
    *Put your milk in checked luggage
    *Pay to have it couriered separately

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Publictransport/AirtravelintheUK/DG_078179
    If you need certain liquids during the flight, you can take them into the cabin in limited quantities as follows: [...] formula, breast milk or cow milk specifically for babies [...] You are allowed to take enough for the journey.

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  140. I thought the Nazis *lost* the war.

    Evidently I was wrong.

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  141. http://www.lhr-acc.org/complaints.aspx if anyone wants to complain directly to Heathrow (an airport I hate with a passion for its unfriendly staff and service. Shame I'm from london!).
    Also might be worth contacting The Air Transport Users Council
    CAA House
    45-59 Kingsway
    London WC2B 6TE

    Telephone: 020 7240 6061 (website at www.auc.org.uk)

    this is beyond disgusting behaviour, and it sounds like you conducted yourself with grace and patience that they did not deserve! I hope you get at the very least a written formal apology from the airport.

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  142. @b_corwen, the thing is that there are restrictions on what you can carry on the flight but breastmilk is EXEMPTED from these restrictions. It's right in the rules. Quoting rules that don't apply is unfortunately irrelevant in this situation. The outrage is justified. These goons made up their own rules and passed a value judgment on this mama and refused to let her speak to someone with more authority. For all these reasons they should lose their jobs at best; at worst I feel criminal charges are justified.

    Every time someone does this or, like you, tries to make it out to be the fault of the mama for not following the 'rules', it adds another stick to the pyre on which nursing mamas are burnt on. Stop it, please.

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  143. I find @heathrowairport are fairly helpful on twitter. Good luck, both with baby, milk, and being a diplomat's wife :) I'm a diplomat's kid. We grow up rather nicely. Make sure he/she learns languages. Very handy!!

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  144. I hate that this happened and would have been fuming. However, it appears b_corwin is right. The blogger said it herself. The rules at Heathrow are: Baby food or baby milk: Please carry only what you need for the flight. You may be asked to open the containers and taste the contents.

    Again - since I can't bold here - TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE FLIGHT.

    The rules are horrible - but the airport officials were just following them. Work to get the rules changed (and work on advising them of MUCH improved customer service!).

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  145. Oh my gosh!! I found my blood pressure going through the roof just reading your blog post about this experience. I can't imagine how I would feel had I actually personally gone through it. My heart goes out to you. I would have blown up, uttered some expletives, and probably gotten thrown off the flight entirely. I would not have acted with even one modicum of the grace you showed.

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  146. I'm not even a mom and I have stream coming put my ears.... create a petition & I'll sign it.

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  147. Thankfully I travelled from Stansted on 7t July and back home on 16th July and the milk was not an issue either time (but my boy was with me).
    I am glad that airport staff are not ALWAYS horrific but I sympathise 100% with your experience.
    Liska x

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Thanks for sharing!